Thursday, May 31, 2012

Put your Pedal to the Nettle this Spring

 Put Your Pedal to the Nettle this Summer and Go Green Inside and Out!

I rode 36 miles on my trusty mountain bike this month in New York, (nice 'n easy flat terrain), but I am still bragging.. quite a feat for my dear body. Of course it was with 40 other people who were on their skinny-tire-faster-than-me-touring bikes- which was why I was so far behind. I know my speed cannot be measured in tire widths alone but what a glorious day to go slow and take in the sunshine and views, peruse the weeds here and there where the lovely nettle sways in the breeze.

I always think of nettles this time of year.. and want to share the value and nutrition of this miracle herb.   Enjoy these tips and recipes and make nettle a part of your life, your nails and hair and blood will thank you for it.. and if you have allergies, they may just wither away in the shadow of the mighty nettle.  If you can't get around to the recipes below, just take some nettle, dried or fresh and make a tonic.  Use a ball quart jar, fill nettle up to 1/5 full (if dry), 1/2 if fresh.  Pour boiling water over it and cap.  Let it sit overnight and sip throughout the next day.  You can add a little mint to flavor it and some lemon when ready to drink.  It can become addictive, so watch out!

NETTLE: Stinging nettle has a flavor similar to spinach when cooked and is rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. In its peak season, stinging nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable. The young leaves are edible. Nettles can be used in a variety of recipes, such as pesto. Nettle soup is a common use of the plant, particularly in Northern and Eastern Europe.(wikpedia).

SAVORY NETTLE CHIPS!    I just learned about this recipe and tried it - very similar to Kale chips and great for getting the greens if you don't like to use nettles in a stir fry or soup.

Savory Nettle Chips Recipe

• 20 to 40 freshly harvested nettle leaves
• 2 1/2 teaspoons organic extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon organic rice wine vinegar
• 1 to 2 tablespoons organic shoyu, soy sauce, tamari or Braggs
• 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 2 to 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
• Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1. Wearing gloves, harvest your nettles, rinse with cool water, and dry. Separate the leaves by breaking the petiole (leaf stem) from the main stem.
2. Mix all of the glaze ingredients together in a bowl. Add the nettle leaves and gently toss until each leaf is well coated. You should be able to remove your gloves at this point.
3. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, unravel each delicate leaf. Place pan in a warm oven at 200 degrees and allow the leaves to slowly dehydrate.
4. After 15 to 20 minutes, peel each leaf off of the parchment paper and flip over so the other side can crisp in the oven. Check your nettles every 5 to 10 minutes until they lose sogginess and become nice and crunchy. Be careful not to let them char and turn dark brown or black. Total cooking time can vary between 30 and 45 minutes.
5. Once you reach the desired crispiness, remove and allow to cool. Store in an airtight glass container for up to a week or possibly longer, if they aren’t devoured by then!

Read more:

Nettle Pesto

  • 2 cups stinging nettles leaves, packed
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  1. Place nettles leaves, basil, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a food processor
  2. Pulse ingredients until almost smooth
  3. Serve on cucumbers, yellow peppers, or crackers